"When You Wish Upon a Star" is a song written by Leigh Harline and Ned Washington for Walt Disney's 1940 adaptation of Pinocchio. The original version was sung by Cliff Edwards in the character of Jiminy Cricket, and is heard over the opening credits and in the final scene of the film. The song has since become the representative song of The Walt Disney Company. The recording by Cliff Edwards and Chorus was released by Victor Records as catalogue number 261546 and 26477A (in USA) and by EMI on the His Master's Voice Label as catalogue number BD 821.
Edwards recorded another version in 1940 for an American Decca Records "cover version" of the score of Pinocchio, conducted by Victor Young and featuring soprano Julietta Novis and The King's Men. It was first released on a 4-record 78-RPM album set, and years later as one side of an LP, backed by selections from The Wizard of Oz. A recording with Christian Rub (with Mister Geppetto's voice), Cliff Edwards and Chorus was released by Victor Records as catalogue number 26479B (in USA) and by EMI on the His Master's Voice label as catalogue number BD 823. "When You Wish Upon a Star" won the 1940 Academy Award for Best Original Song. It was also the first Disney song to win an Oscar.
When a star is born,
They possess a gift or two.
One of them is this,
They have the power to make a wish come true.
When you wish upon a star
Makes no difference who you are
Anything your heart desires
Will come to you
If your heart is in your dream
No request is too extreme
When you wish upon a star
As dreamers do
Fate is kind
She brings to those who love
The sweet fulfillment of
Their secret longing
Like a bolt out of the blue
Fate steps in and sees you through
When you wish upon a star
Your dreams come true
The American Film Institute ranked "When You Wish Upon a Star" seventh in their 100 Greatest Songs in Film History, the highest ranked Disney animated film song, and also one of only four Disney animated film songs to appear on the list, with the others being "Some Day My Prince Will Come" from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs ranked at #19, "Beauty and the Beast" from Beauty and the Beast ranked at #62, and "Hakuna Matata" from The Lion King ranked at #99.
The song reached the top one in Billboard's Record Buying Guide, a predecessor of the retail sales chart. Popular versions included Louis Armstrong, Glenn Miller, Guy Lombardo, Horace Heidt and, of course, Cliff Edwards.
In Japan, Sweden, Finland, Norway and Denmark, the song has become a Christmas song, often referring to the Star of Bethlehem. The Swedish language version is called Ser du stjärnan i det blå, roughly translated: "do you see the star in the blue(sky)", and the Danish title is "Når du ser et stjerneskud", which translates as "When you see a shooting star". In Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Norway, the song is played on television every Christmas Eve in the traditional Disney one-hour Christmas cabaret, and the gathering of the entire family to watch this is considered a Scandinavian tradition.
The song was also covered by Dion and the Belmonts in 1960.
It was covered by KISS bassist Gene Simmons, on his eponymous solo album in 1978. Simmons said that he covered "When You Wish Upon a Star" because he related to the song and was a fan of Disney movies. "When I first heard that song I could barely speak English but I knew the words were true. Anybody can have what they want, the world and life can give its rewards to anyone."
Billy Joel performed the song in the 1991 direct-to-video special Simply Mad About the Mouse: A Musical Celebration of Imagination and its soundtrack. A video was produced with Joel featuring as an animated character interacting with famous Disney characters.
In 1995, Alvin and the Chipmunks and The Chipettes recorded a cover as the final track to their Disney-themed album When You Wish Upon a Chipmunk.
"When You Wish Upon a Star" is presented twice in Disney's RocketMan (1997). The first time it appears in the film, it is sung by Fred Z. Randall (played by Harland Williams) while looking at a star outside of a spaceship. Then at the end of the film, an abridged version of the original by Cliff Edwards plays as Randall and Julie Ford (Jessica Lundy) dance together on a spaceship.
Neil Diamond covered the song on his 1998 album The Movie Album: As Time Goes By.
'N Sync recorded a cover for Disneymania (2002), Ashley Gearing covered the song for Disneymania 2 (2003), Jesse McCartney covered it for Disneymania 3 (2005), and Kate Voegele performed it for Disneymania 6 (2008).
The Library of Congress deemed the song "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" and preserved it into the National Recording Registry in 2009.
Brian Wilson admits that the melody of The Beach Boys hit song "Surfer Girl", which has the same AABA form, is loosely based on the Dion and the Belmonts version of "When You Wish Upon a Star". Wilson also covered it on his album In the Key of Disney, which was released on October 25, 2011.
Later, on Christmas Day 2011, Jessica Jung of Girls' Generation covered the song for their MBC Christmas Special.
On 2012 album Disney - Koe no Oujisama, which features various seiyus covering Disney songs, this song was covered by Takahiro Sakurai
Avant-garde guitarist Buckethead occasionally plays a shortened version live.
"When You Wish" was the corps song of the Star of Indiana Drum and Bugle Corps. In addition, it was the first musical chart in Star's first competitive program in 1985 (as the entire musical book was drawn from Disney properties).
"When You Wish Upon a Star", along with Mickey Mouse, has become an icon of The Walt Disney Company. In the 1950s and 1960s, Walt Disney used the song in the opening sequences of all the editions of the Walt Disney anthology television series. It has also been used to accompany the Walt Disney Pictures opening logos – including the present-day logo – since the 1980s. The ships of the Disney Cruise Line use the first seven notes of the song's melody as their horn signals. Additionally, many productions at Disney theme parks – particularly fireworks shows and parades – employ the song.
The piece has become a jazz standard. It has been performed by artists including Louis Armstrong, June Christy, Dave Brubeck Quartet, Glenn Miller, Joe Pass, the Keith Jarrett Trio, The Manhattan Transfer, Sun Ra, Jason Becker and Bill Evans.
The owner of the rights to the song, Bourne Co. Music Publishers, sued Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp., Fox Broadcasting Company, Fuzzy Door Productions, Cartoon Network, Walter Murphy and Seth MacFarlane to try to stop distribution of a 2003 Family Guy episode entitled "When You Wish Upon a Weinstein" that parodies the song in a version called I Need a Jew. A federal judge ruled against Bourne Co, stating that parodying the song did not infringe on the company's copyright.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 134. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
- ↑ KISSMONSTER - Song Stories - "When You Wish Upon A Star" (1978, Gene Simmons)
- ↑ Billy Joel: When You Wish Upon a Star - YouTube
- ↑ National Recording Registry Adds 25 - News Releases (Library of Congress)
- ↑ LULLABY - Celtic Woman - Irish Music Sensation
- ↑ Philip Lambert, Inside the Music of Brian Wilson: The Songs, Sounds, and Influences of the Beach Boys' Founding Genius (Continuum, 2007):28.
- ↑ Brian Wilson Tweet (5:44 PM - 15 Feb 2011 Tweet)
- ↑ Philip Lambert, Inside the Music of Brian Wilson: The Songs, Sounds, and Influences of the Beach Boys' Founding Genius (Continuum, 2007):27.
- ↑ Jim Fusilli, Pet Sounds, Volume 19 of 33 1/3 (Continuum International Publishing Group, 2005):23.
- ↑ Domenic Priore, Smile: The Story of Brian Wilson's Lost Masterpiece (Sanctuary, 2005):32.
- ↑ Rod Stewart - Merry Christmas, Baby CD Album
- ↑ Idina Menzel announces Christmas album, includes Michael Bublé duet
- ↑ DCI.org News: Celebrating 20 years of Star of Indiana
- ↑ When You Wish Upon A Star
- ↑ Owner of 'Wish Upon a Star' song loses Fox lawsuit
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